Wednesday, June 20, 2018

[Paleontology • 2018] Primitivus manduriensis • A New Fossil Marine Lizard with Soft Tissues from the Late Cretaceous of southern Italy

Primitivus manduriensis 
Paparella, Palci, Nicosia & Caldwell, 2018
   DOI:  10.1098/rsos.172411 

A new marine lizard showing exceptional soft tissue preservation was found in Late Cretaceous deposits of the Apulian Platform (Puglia, Italy). Primitivus manduriensis gen. et sp. nov. is not only the first evidence of the presence of dolichosaurs in a southern Italian Carbonate Platform, filling a palaeogeographic gap in the Mediterranean Tethys, but also extends the range of this group to the upper Campanian–lower Maastrichtian. Our parsimony analysis recovers a monophyletic non-ophidian pythonomorph clade, including Tetrapodophis amplectus at the stem of Mosasauroidea + Dolichosauridae, which together represent the sister group of Ophidia (modern and fossil snakes). Based on Bayesian inference instead, Pythonomorpha is monophyletic, with Ophidia representing the more deeply nested clade, and the new taxon as basal to all other pythonomorphs. Primitivus displays a fairly conservative morphology in terms of both axial elongation of the trunk and limb reduction, and the coexistence of aquatic adaptations with features hinting at the retention of the ability to move on land suggests a semi-aquatic lifestyle. The exceptional preservation of mineralized muscles, portions of the integument, cartilages and gut content provides unique sources of information about this extinct group of lizards. The new specimen may represent local persistence of a relict dolichosaur population until almost the end of the Cretaceous in the Mediterranean Tethys, and demonstrates the incompleteness of our knowledge of dolichosaur temporal and spatial distributions.

KEYWORDS: Squamata, Pythonomorpha, Apulian Platform, Cretaceous, soft tissue, ultraviolet radiation

Figure 1. Holotype of Primitivus manduriensis gen. et sp. nov. (MPUR NS 161) at natural (a) and UV (b) light as exposed from the matrix in dorsal view. The imaging under UV radiations is a composite of two pictures. Scale bars: 5 cm. 

 Systematic palaeontology
Reptilia Linnaeus, 1758
Squamata Oppel, 1811
Pythonomorpha Cope, 1869

Definition. Dolichosauridae is here defined as the group including all taxa sharing a more recent common ancestor with Dolichosaurus longicollis than with Aigialosaurus sp. In our study, this includes the following genera: Dolichosaurus, Pontosaurus, Primitivus gen. nov., Adriosaurus, Acteosaurus, and Aphanizocnemus (cf. Nopcsa [1903] and Conrad [2008]).

Diagnosis. Dolichosauridae is here defined as the group of non-ophidian pythonomorphs characterized by the following combination of features: non-sutural contact between premaxilla and maxilla; jugal lacking large posterior process; postorbital portion of postfrontal + postorbital forming half or more of the posterior orbital margin; hypapophyses/hypapophyseal peduncles extending to the tenth presacral/precloacal vertebra or beyond (10–12 cervical vertebrae); 32–40 presacral/precloacal vertebrae; reduced scapula and coracoid; tail deep, laterally compressed (cf. Pierce & Caldwell [2004], Caldwell [2006,2000], Palci & Caldwell [2010]).

Primitivus manduriensis gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology. The genus is named after the famous red wine grape variety, ‘Primitivo’, native to and grown in great quantities in the Salento Peninsula (Puglia, southern Italy). The species name has been chosen to honour the full name of the wine, ‘Primitivo di Manduria’, which is not only produced around the town of Manduria (Taranto, Puglia), but also in other localities of the Salento Peninsula, including Nardò, where the specimen was found.

Holotype. MPUR NS 161, an almost complete skeleton mostly in articulation, exposed in dorsal view, partially embedded in the rock, and missing the terminal portion of the tail and some elements of the skull. Together with the skeleton, there are abundant soft tissues preserved, including permineralized muscle fibres and integument. 

Locality and stratigraphy. Nardò, Lecce (Puglia, southern Italy); higher portion of the informal geological unit ‘Calcari di Melissano’, Apulian Carbonate Platform.

Age. Upper Campanian–lower Maastrichtian, based on microfossils.

Diagnosis. The new taxon can be distinguished from other dolichosaurids by the following unique combination of features: contact between frontal and prefrontal limited in the dorsal view; sutural contact between the septomaxilla anterolateral margin and the maxilla; the septomaxilla posterolateral margin in contact with the nasal; 10 cervical vertebrae + 22 dorsal vertebrae (32 presacrals); bowtie-shaped astragalus (with both a dorsal and a ventral notch); calcaneum with a proximal concavity for articulation with the fibula; deeply imbricated, small sub-circular scales on the lateral sides of the trunk and limbs; larger diamond-shaped scales on the trunk dorsal region; transversally expanded subcaudal scales.

Figure 12. Primitivus manduriensis three-dimensional model and life reconstruction. The specimen is preserved in sediments deposited in the shallower portion of an inner lagoon of the Apulian Carbonate Platform, and is inferred to have a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Three-dimensional model (a) and life reconstruction (b) created by Fabio Manucci.

Ilaria Paparella, Alessandro Palci, Umberto Nicosia and Michael W. Caldwell. 2018. A New Fossil Marine Lizard with Soft Tissues from the Late Cretaceous of southern Italy.  Royal Society Open Science.   DOI:  10.1098/rsos.172411

[Ichthyology • 2018] Pethia sahit • A New Syntopic Species of Small Barb (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from the Western Ghats of India

Pethia sahit
Katwate, Kumkar, Raghavan & Dahanukar, 2018

A new species of the cyprinid genus Pethia is described from the Hiranyakeshi, a tributary of the Krishna River system in the Western Ghats mountain ranges of peninsular India. The new species, Pethia sahit, is syntopic—and shoals together—with Pethia longicauda, a species described recently from the same river. Pethia sahit is distinguished from P. longicauda and its congeners by a combination of characters like, incomplete lateral line with 3–6 pored scales; 19–22 scales in lateral series; 4½ scales between dorsal-fin origin and lateral-line row and 2½ scales between lateral line row and pelvic-fin origin; intercalated scale row originates above and after the 6th scale of the lateral-line scale row; dorsal fin originating behind the pelvic-fin origin; 4+13 abdominal and 12 caudal vertebrae; dorsal, pectoral, pelvic, anal and caudal fins without any bands or spots, deep yellow-orange in color or deep red with a pale tint of orange in mature males; a dark-black vertically elongate humeral spot, overlapping the 4th lateral-line scale, extending over the base of one scale above and below the 4th scale; caudal peduncle spot dark, covering 14th–16th scales in lateral-line scale row. Genetic analysis based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene indicates that P. sahit and P. longicauda are not sister taxa. Further, P. sahit has no genetically proximate congener in the Western Ghats region, and differs from known congeners from south and southeast Asia, for which genetic data are available, with genetic distance ranging from 11.8–16.4%.

Keywords: Pisces, freshwater fish; integrative taxonomy; Pethia; sympatry

Unmesh Katwate, Pradeep Kumkar, Rajeev Raghavan and Neelesh Dahanukar. 2018. A New Syntopic Species of Small Barb from the Western Ghats of India (Teleostei: Cyprinidae).  Zootaxa. 4434(3); 529–546. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4434.3.8


[Diplopoda • 2018] The Genus Eviulisoma Silvestri, 1910 (Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae), in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania, and related species from other Eastern Arc Mountains. With notes on Eoseviulisoma Brolemann, 1920, and Suohelisoma Hoffman, 1963 [A Mountain of Millipedes VII]

Eviulisoma zebra Enghoff, 2018
one of the strikingly marked species from the Udzungwa Mts. 

Photograph by Martin Nielsen.


 Twenty-two new species of the genus Eviulisoma Silvestri, 1910, from the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania, are described: Eviulisoma acaciae sp. nov., E. aequilobatum sp. nov., E. akkariae sp. nov., E. angulatum sp. nov., E. articulatum sp. nov., E. biquintum sp. nov., E. breviscutum sp. nov., E. cetafi sp. nov., E. chitense sp. nov., E. commelina sp. nov., E. coxale sp. nov., E. ejti sp. nov., E. grumslingslak sp. nov., E. kalimbasiense sp. nov., E. navuncus sp. nov., E. nessiteras sp. nov., E. ottokrausi sp. nov., E. paradisiacum sp. nov., E. sternale sp. nov. and E. zebra sp. nov. from the Udzungwa Mts, E. culter sp. nov. from the Rubeho Mts and E. kangense sp. nov. from the Kanga Mts. Eviulisoma kwabuniense Kraus, 1958, and E. dabagaense Kraus, 1958, both from the Udzungwa Mts, are redesribed based on new material. Notes are provided on E. iuloideum (Verhoeff, 1941) based on type material. Eoseviulisoma Brolemann, 1920, is synonymized under Eviulisoma, based on newly collected material of E. julinum (Attems, 1909), type species of Eoseviulisoma. New material of Suohelisoma ulugurense Hoffman, 1964, type species of Suohelisoma Hoffman, 1964, has revealed that the gonopod structure is more similar to that of Eviulisoma than originally thought, but Suohelisoma is retained as a valid genus. Four species groups are recognized among Eviulisoma species from the Udzungwa Mts, but the need for a revision of the entire genus is emphasized. Two types of epizootic fungi are recorded from Eviulisoma spp., and an enigmatic amorphous mass, which may be a kind of plugging substance, is recorded from the gonopod tips and excavated sixth sternum of several species. 

Keywords: Taxonomy, new species, epizootic fungi, copulatory plug. 

Fig. 1. Eviulisoma zebra sp. nov., one of the strikingly marked species from the Udzungwa Mts.
Photograph by Martin Nielsen.

Henrik Enghoff. 2018. A Mountain of Millipedes VII: The Genus Eviulisoma Silvestri, 1910, in the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania, and related species from other Eastern Arc Mountains. With notes on Eoseviulisoma Brolemann, 1920, and Suohelisoma Hoffman, 1963 (Diplopoda, Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae)European Journal of Taxonomy. 445: 1–90. DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2018.445

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Fejervarya kalinga & F. krishnan • Two New Species of Cricket Frogs of the Genus Fejervarya Bolkay, 1915 (Anura: Dicroglossidae) from the Peninsular India

 Fejervarya kalinga 
Raj, Dinesh, Das, Dutta, Kar & Mohapatra, 2018

The Dicroglossidae frogs of genus Fejervarya Bolkay, 1915 are morphologically cryptic and represented by one of the widespread group of frogs across the tropical Asia comprising about 45 species. Being morphologically cryptic, taxonomic status for many of the species remains uncertain. Recent studies using integrative taxonomic approach have revealed the existence of many novel and hitherto undescribed species. Herewith, we describe two new species of Fejervarya viz. Fejervarya kalinga sp. nov. and Fejervarya krishnan sp. nov. from peninsular India having morphological and phylogenetic distinctness. Detailed morphological descriptions and comparisons with the known congeners along with their systematic relationship inferred from phylogenetic analyses are presented herein. Taxonomic problems within the genus for the peninsular India and the pattern of phylogenetic relationships are also presented.

Keywords: Cryptic Species, Eastern Ghats, Fejervarya, India, New Species, Phylogeny, South Asia, Western Ghats.

Prudhvi Raj, K. P. Dinesh, Abhijit Das, Sushil K. Dutta, Niladri B. Kar and Pratyush P. Mohapatra. 2018. Two New Species of Cricket Frogs of the Genus Fejervarya Bolkay, 1915 (Anura: Dicroglossidae) from the Peninsular India. Records of the Zoological Survey of India.  118(1); 1-21. DOI:   10.26515/rzsi/v118/i1/2018/121436

Scientists discover two new cricket frogs in India, take the list to over 30 species now  via @SciResMatters
New frog species discovered in Peninsular India to help study impact of climate change via @NewIndianXpress

[Botany • 2018] Talbotiella cheekii (Leguminosae: Detarioideae) • A New Tree Species from Guinea

Talbotiella cheekii Burgt

in van der Burgt, Molmou, Diallo, et al., 2018.

Talbotiella cheekii Burgt, a new tree species from Guinea, is described and illustrated. It is a tree to 24 m high, with a stem diameter to 83 cm, and occurs in forest dominated by tree species of the Leguminosae subfamily Detarioideae, on rocky stream banks and rocky hill slopes, at an altitude of 100 – 600 m. It is estimated that 1600 – 2400 mature trees have been seen, in about twelve forest patches; more trees may be present in places not yet visited. One of the localities of the new species is situated at only 46 km northeast of the centre of the capital Conakry and 6 km northeast of the town centre of Coyah, part of the Conakry urban agglomeration. Its distribution is 1400 km further west from the previous westernmost distribution of the genus. The current extent of occurrence is 166 km2. Talbotiella cheekii is here assessed as Endangered (EN) following IUCN Red List categories.

Key Words: Conservation, Endangered species, West Africa 

Fig. 3 Talbotiella cheekii Burgt.
 A branch with inflorescences; B leaf upper surface; C infructescence with three fruits; D leaflet lower surface showing two glands; E stipule; F auriculate stipule; G flower.

 A, E, G from Burgt 2087; B, D, F from Burgt 2065; C from Molmou 988. drawn by Xander van der Burgt.

Fig. 1. Talbotiella cheekii Burgt.
A two flowers; B twig with inflorescences; C infructescence with two fruits; D leaves.

 A – B from Burgt 2087; C from Molmou 988; D from Burgt 2065. 
PHOTOS: A, B, D Xander van der Burgt; C Martin Cheek.

Talbotiella cheekii Burgt sp. nov.

Recognition: Talbotiella cheekii is morphologically similar to T. batesii Baker f. The pedicels of T. cheekii are pink to red, 9 – 24 mm long; the bracteoles are 8 – 15 × 0.7 – 1.5 mm (the pedicels of T. batesii are white, 4 – 10.5 mm long; the bracteoles are 6 – 8.5 × 1.1 – 2.5 mm). The ovary of T. cheekii is reddish green to dark red, and glabrous with only the edges densely hairy (the ovary of T. batesii is pale pink, and densely hairy). The pod of T. cheekii is glabrous, the sutures sparsely hairy (the pod of T. batesii has the surfaces and suture moderately puberulous). The leaflet apex of T. cheekii is rounded to slightly emarginate (the leaflet apex of T. batesii is acute).

DISTRIBUTION: Guinea (Map 1). Talbotiella cheekii occurs on the sandstone plateau in the northern part of Coyah Préfecture. Its distribution just extends into Dubreka and Kindia Préfectures.

Etymology: Talbotiella cheekii is named after Dr Martin Cheek, Head of the Africa & Madagascar Team in the Identification and Naming Department of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The new species was discovered thanks to his long-standing commitment to the study of African plants. He has been studying the flora of Guinea on field expeditions since 2005, supported the restoration of the National Herbarium of Guinea, and described a new genus and four new species from the country (Cheek & Burgt 2010; Cheek & Haba 2016a, 2016b; Cheek & Williams 2016; Cheek et al. 2016). He is also involved in the designation of new protected areas in Guinea as part of Kew’s Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs) Project (Darbyshire et al. 2017) and is supervising a Darwin Initiative-funded project on rare plant species conservation in the country.

Vernacular Name: Linsonyi (from Burgt 2084); Meni (from Molmou 988); Wonkifong wouri khorohoi (from Burgt 2097), translated as the “Tree with hard wood from Wonkifong”. This last name was proposed by the people of Malassi village when the trees were shown to them. All three names are in the Susu language.

Talbotiella cheekii is characterised by the long pedicels, pink to red in colour, the long and narrow bracteoles, the glabrous pod (only the margin sometimes has a few hairs) and the rounded to slightly emarginate leaflet apex. Apart from this, the leaves and leaflets of T. cheekii and T. batesii are more or less similar; both species have 9 – 14 pairs of leaflets per leaf. Of all previously described Talbotiella species, T. cheekii is morphologically most similar to T. batesii. This is remarkable, because T. batesii is the easternmost species of Talbotiella, occurring in southeast Cameroon, northeast Gabon and north Congo (Brazzaville), at 2900 to 3100 km distance from T. cheekii, the westernmost species. A molecular analysis might show, however, that T. cheekii is more closely related to a different species, for example to T. gentii from Ghana, geographically the nearest of the eight existing Talbotiella species.

Two more plant species from the Leguminosae family have been newly discovered in Guinea in recent years: Eriosema triformum Burgt (Burgt et al. 2012), a pyrophytic herb with unifoliolate leaves, from submontane grassland, endemic to the Pic de Fon area in the Simandou Range, and Gilbertiodendron tonkolili Burgt & Estrella (Estrella et al. 2012), a tree from well-drained sandy and/or rocky soils on river banks and forest patches, first discovered in Sierra Leone, and later found to occur also in Guinea (e.g. the specimens Cheek 16172, 16583 and 16614; all in HNG and K).

Xander M. van der Burgt, Denise Molmou, Almamy Diallo, Gbamon Konomou, Pepe M. Haba and Sékou Magassouba. 2018. Talbotiella cheekii (Leguminosae: Detarioideae), A New Tree Species from Guinea. Kew Bulletin.  73:26. DOI: 10.1007/s12225-018-9755-4

[Botany • 2018] Taxonomic Revision of Peliosanthes bakeri and P. violacea (Asparagaceae), with Description of Two New Species from Bangladesh and India; Peliosanthes subspicata & P. khasiana

Peliosanthes violacea  Wall. ex Baker

 in Tanaka. 2018. 

Syntypes of Peliosanthes bakeri and four varieties (var. clarkei, var. minor, var. princeps and var. violacea) of P. violacea were reexamined to review their identities. As a result, it turned out that the syntypes of P. bakeri comprise two species, P. griffithii and P. subspicata sp. nov., and those of P. violacea include at least six species, Pgriffithii, Pkhasiana sp. nov.PmacrostegiaPsubspicataP. teta, and P. violacea. The two new species, P. khasiana from NE India and P. subspicata from Bangladesh and NE India are described and illustrated. The other four species recognised are taxonomically revised as to their identity, circumscription and distribution. In this connection, lectotypes for five taxa are designated. An identification key for the six species recognised is also provided.

Keywords: tropical Asia, subtropical Asia, Monocots

Peliosanthes violacea  Wall. ex Baker

Noriyuki Tanaka. 2018. Taxonomic Revision of Peliosanthes bakeri and P. violacea (Asparagaceae), with Description of Two New Species from Bangladesh and India. Phytotaxa. 356(1); 34–48.  DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.356.1.3

Monday, June 18, 2018

[Entomology • 2018] Tonzidae fam. nov. • A New Family Group Name for the Genus Tonza (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutoidea), based on Immature Stages of Tonza citrorrhoa

Tonza citrorrhoa  Meyrick, 1905
Kobayashi & Sohn (2018) fam. nov.

in Kobayashi, Matsuoka, Kimura, et al., 2018.


The systematic position of Tonza Walker, 1864 is re-evaluated, based on the characteristics of immature stages and DNA barcodes. Larvae and pupae of Tonza citrorrhoa Meyrick, 1905 are described and illustrated for the first time. Larvae of this species form a loose web among the leaves and branches of the host plant, Putranjiva matsumurae Koidz. (Putranjivaceae Endl.). The immature stages of Tonza exhibit four unique apomorphies including: in the larva, the prolegs on A5 and A6 absent, and the seta L2 on the A1–A8 very small; in the pupa, four minute knobs are positioned in the middle portion on abdominal segments V and VI; while its caudal processes possess a W-shaped spine with numerous minute spines. These characteristics clearly distinguish Tonza from other yponomeutoid families and hence, we propose a new family group name, Tonzidae Kobayashi & Sohn fam. nov., for the genus Tonza. Existing DNA barcode data suggest a relationship with Glyphipterigidae Stainton, 1854. The family level status of Tonzidae fam. nov. provides a hypothesis that needs to be tested with larger molecular data.

Keywords: Adenosma; Bedelliidae; DNA barcoding; Putranjiva matsumurae; leaf webber

Class Hexapoda Blainville, 1816 
Order Lepidoptera Linnaeus, 1758 

Superfamily Yponomeutoidea Stephens, 1829 

Family Tonzidae Kobayashi & Sohn fam. nov. 

Type genus: Tonza Walker, 1864. 

Fig. 1. Female adult of Tonza citrorrhoa Meyrick, 1905 (OPU-IN-LE 2018IV0005),
host: Putranjiva matsumurae Koidz., from Yonaguni Is., Okinawa Pref., Japan.
A. Adult specimen. B. Resting posture of adult, dorso-lateral view.
Scale bar: 2 mm.

Fig. 1. Female adult of Tonza citrorrhoa Meyrick, 1905 (OPU-IN-LE 2018IV0005), host: Putranjiva matsumurae Koidz., from Yonaguni Is., Okinawa Pref., Japan.  Scale bar: 2 mm.

Fig. 3. Larvae and pupae of Tonza citrorrhoa Meyrick, 1905 on Putranjiva matsumurae Koidz.
A. Tree of hostplant and larval webs. B. Later larva forming web on young leaves. C. Later larva, lateral view.

Diagnosis Adult. Maxillary palpi three-segmented; ocelli and chaetosema absent (Fig. 8C–D); antennae slightly longer than or same length as forewing (Fig. 1); forewings with slightly protruding apex and tornus; forewing termen oblique or concave; only two radial sector veins present, RS1 on apex and RS2 on termen (Kobayashi et al. 2015; Fig. 1F); in the male genitalia (Kobayashi et al. 2015; Fig. 2A–D), uncus small with a pair of long processes; socii with long terminal setae; valva elongate with several small spines and plate arising from middle to base of valva; in the female genitalia (Kobayashi et al. 2015; Fig. 2E), lamella antevaginalis sclerotized, covering sternite VIII; antrum slender; inception of ductus seminalis at the middle of corpus bursae (after Kobayashi et al. 2015).


Genus Tonza Walker, 1864 
Tonza Walker, 1864: 1011 – Kobayashi et al. (2015: 68–69) (redescription). 

Type species: T. purella Walker, 1864.

1. Tonza purella Walker, 1864
Distribution: Australia 

2. Tonza citrorrhoa Meyrick, 1905
Distribution: India; Sri Lanka; China (Taiwan); Japan (Kagoshima, Okinawa); Indonesia, identity not certain; Philippines, identity not certain

3. Tonza callicitra Meyrick, 1913
Distribution: Solomon Islands (Bougainville; type locality, types in NHMUK), New Guinea, New Ireland, New Britain, E. Sula: Mangole, Salomo Archipelago (Shortland I.).

Shigeki Kobayashi, Haruka Matsuoka, Masaaki Kimura, Jae-Cheon Sohn, Yutaka Yoshiyasu and David C. Lees. 2018. Designation of A New Family Group Name, Tonzidae fam. nov., for the Genus Tonza (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutoidea), based on Immature Stages of Tonza citrorrhoaEuropean Journal of Taxonomy. 443; 1–32. DOI:   10.5852/ejt.2018.443

[PaleoOrnithology • 2018] Panraogallus hezhengensis • Vocal Specialization through Tracheal Elongation in An Extinct Miocene Pheasant from China

Panraogallus hezhengensis 
Li, Clarke, Eliason, Stidham, Deng & Zhou, 2018

Modifications to the upper vocal tract involving hyper-elongated tracheae have evolved many times within crown birds, and their evolution has been linked to a ‘size exaggeration’ hypothesis in acoustic signaling and communication, whereby smaller-sized birds can produce louder sounds. A fossil skeleton of a new extinct species of wildfowl (Galliformes: Phasianidae) from the late Miocene of China, preserves an elongated, coiled trachea that represents the oldest fossil record of this vocal modification in birds and the first documentation of its evolution within pheasants. The phylogenetic position of this species within Phasianidae has not been fully resolved, but appears to document a separate independent origination of this vocal modification within Galliformes. The fossil preserves a coiled section of the trachea and other remains supporting a tracheal length longer than the bird’s body. This extinct species likely produced vocalizations with a lower fundamental frequency and reduced harmonics compared to similarly-sized pheasants. The independent evolution of this vocal feature in galliforms living in both open and closed habitats does not appear to be correlated with other factors of biology or its open savanna-like habitat. Features present in the fossil that are typically associated with sexual dimorphism suggest that sexual selection may have resulted in the evolution of both the morphology and vocalization mechanism in this extinct species.

Systematic paleontology
AVES Linnaeus, 1758
GALLIFORMES Linnaeus, 1758

PHASIANIDAE Vigors, 1825

Panraogallus hezhengensis gen et sp. nov.

Etymology: The genus name is the pinyin of the Chinese characters meaning ‘coiling’ and the Latin for ‘chicken,’ referring to the preserved elongate trachea in this species. The specific epithet, ‘hezhengensis’ refers to Hezheng area in the Linxia Basin of Gansu Province where abundant fossils, including the holotype, have been collected.

Specimen number: HMV 1876 (HMV, Hezheng Paleozoological Museum, Vertebrate Collection, Gansu Province, China).

Locality and age: Baihua area near Zhuangkeji Township, Guanghe County, Gansu Province, China exposes the Liushu Formation that is late Miocene (7.25–11.1 Ma).

Fig.1 Type specimen of Panraogallus hezhengensis (HMV 1876). It has coiled, super-elongated windpipe and lived in the late Miocene of Gansu Province in northwest China (Photo by Z. LI and reconstruction by X. GUO at IVPP)

Zhiheng Li, Julia A. Clarke, Chad M. Eliason, Thomas A. Stidham, Tao Deng and Zhonghe Zhou. 2018. Vocal Specialization through Tracheal Elongation in An Extinct Miocene Pheasant from China. Scientific Reports. 8, Article number: 8099. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12739

Song From The Distant Past, A New Fossil Pheasant From China Preserves A Super-Elongated Windpipe
Song from the distant past, a new fossil pheasant from China preserves a super-elongated windpipe via @physorg_com
Song from the distant past, a new fossil pheasant from China preserves a... via @EurekAlert
El esqueleto fosilizado de un faisán con una tráquea súper larga via @natgeoesp

[Botany • 2012] Rhododendron rawatii (Ericaceae) • A New Species from the Western Himalaya, India

Rhododendron rawatii  I. D. Rai & B. S. Adhikari

in Rai & Adhikari, 2012.

A new species of RhododendronR. rawatii is illustrated and described from the Western Himalaya. The species is sporadically found in the subalpine-timberline zone of Uttarakhand state. Fascicled white cottony hairs on the abaxial surface in between lateral veins of leaves, bright pink and shine-less corolla and comparatively large calyx with hairy margins distinguish the new species from its nearest ally R. fulgens. The populations of the species were found in two geographically distinct localities in the Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh districts of Uttarakhand state. The distinguishing morphological characters, affinities with other species and various ecological aspects of the new species are discussed here.

Rhododendron rawatii I. D. Rai & B. S. Adhikari sp. nov. 

Etymology:— The epithet rawatii acknowledges Prof. Gopal Singh Rawat, one of the leading phytotaxonomists and ecologists of India.

 Ishwari Datt Rai and Bhupendra S. Adhikari. 2012. Rhododendron rawatii (Ericaceae), A New Species from the Western Himalaya, India. PHYTOTAXA. 71(1):10-16   DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.71.1.3

[Entomology • 2018] Corotoca fontesi • New Species and Synonymy in the Genus Corotoca Schiødte, 1853 (Coleoptera, Aleocharinae)

Corotoca fontesi Zilberman, 2018


Corotoca Schiødte, 1853 is a Neotropical genus of termitophiles beetles, with five species, and its description marks the first record of insects associated with termites. A new species, Corotoca fontesi sp. nov., from Brazil, is described and illustrated, and a taxonomical problem regarding to the identification and nomenclatural status of two species, Corotoca phylo Schiødte, 1853 and Corotoca seeversi Fontes, 1977, is solved. Therefore, Corotoca seeversi is proposed as a new junior synonym of C. phylo, and the material identified as C. phylo housed in the Museum of Zoology of the University of São Paulo, Brazil (MZUSP) is recognized as a new species, Corotoca fontesi sp. nov. New morphological and sexual dimorphism data in the species, and solution of some messy informations about the genus present in the literature are also present.

Keywords: Coleoptera, dimorphism, illustrations, morphology, taxonomy, termitophiles

Bruno Zilberman. 2018. New Species and Synonymy in the Genus Corotoca Schiødte, 1853 (Coleoptera, Aleocharinae, Corotocini). Zootaxa. 4434(3); 547–560. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4434.3.9

[Ornithology • 2018] Discovery of A Rare Hybrid Specimen Known as Maria’s Bird of Paradise at the Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum in Braunschweig

Figure 1. Plate of the male hybrid bird of paradise Paradisaea maria from Reichenow (1897). 

Figure 2. Plates of Paradisaea guilielmi (upper) and P. raggiana augustaevictoriae (lower),
the presumed parental species of P. maria, related to the original descriptions by Cabanis (1888).  

Reproduced from the Biodiversity heritage library ( 
in Koch, 2018.   DOI: 10.3897/zse.94.25139 

The discovery of a rare hybrid specimen of Maria’s bird of paradise (Paradisaea maria, i.e., P. guilielmi × P. raggiana augustaevictoriae) in the ornithological collection of the Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum in Braunschweig (SNMB) is reported. Until today only six male specimens (deposited in the natural history museums in Berlin and New York) and presumably one female have been identified in collections world-wide. The male specimen in Braunschweig corresponds well in its plumage colouration with an historical illustration and photographs of the original type specimen from the 19th century housed at the Berlin collection. It shows intermediate characteristics between both parental species, viz. the Emperor bird of paradise (P. guilielmi) and the Raggiana bird of paradise (P. raggiana augustaevictoriae). In addition, we try to elucidate the circumstances how this rare specimen of hybrid origin, which formerly belonged to the natural history collection of the factory owner Walter Behrens from Bad Harzburg, came to the SNMB. Our unexpected discovery highlights the importance to maintain, support and study also smaller private natural history collections, since they may house historical voucher specimens of high scientific value.

Key Words: Paradisaea maria, Ornithology, Natural history collections, New Guinea, Type specimens, Hybridisation, Private collector, Walter Behrens, Haus der Natur

 André Koch. 2018. Discovery of A Rare Hybrid Specimen Known as Maria’s Bird of Paradise at the Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum in Braunschweig. Zoosystematics and Evolution. 94(2): 315-324.  DOI: 10.3897/zse.94.25139

Zusammenfassung: Es wird über die Entdeckung eines seltenen Exemplars des Hybrid-Paradiesvogels Paradisaea maria (d.h. Paradisaea guilielmi × P. raggiana augustaevictoriae), in der ornithologischen Sammlung des Staatlichen Naturhistorischen Museums in Braunschweig (SNMB) berichtet. Bis heute sind lediglich sechs männliche (aus den Museen in Berlin und New York) und vermutlich ein weibliches Exemplar in internationalen Naturkundesammlungen bekannt geworden. Das männliche Exemplar aus Braunschweig entspricht in seiner Gefiederfärbung einer historischen Abbildung und Fotos des ursprünglichen Typusexemplars aus dem 19. Jahrhundert, das sich im Berliner Museum befindet. Es zeigt deutlich intermediäre Merkmalsausprägungen zwischen den beiden Elternarten, dem Kaiserparadiesvogel (P. guilielmi) und dem Raggi-Paradiesvogel (P. raggiana augustaevictoriae). Die Umstände, wie dieser seltene Hybrid-Paradiesvogel, der ehemals Teil der Sammlung des Fabrikanten Walter Behrens aus Bad Harzburg war, in die SNMB-Sammlung gelangte, werden erläutert. Unsere unerwartete Entdeckung unterstreicht die Bedeutung, auch kleinere private naturkundliche Sammlungen zu bewahren, zu erhalten und zu erforschen, da sie historische Belegexemplare von hoher wissenschaftlicher Bedeutung enthalten können.

[Herpetology • 2018] Hynobius tosashimizuensis • Morphological and Molecular Analyses of Hynobius dunni Reveal A New Species from Shikoku, Japan

Hynobius tosashimizuensis 
 Sugawara, Watabe, Yoshikawa & Nagano, 2018

We describe a new species of lentic salamander of the genus Hynobius. From our examination of specimens from the Kyushu and Shikoku populations of Hynobius dunni, individuals of each population have distinct morphological and molecular traits. On this basis, we describe the Shikoku population as a new species. Morphological comparisons revealed that most individuals of H. dunni possessed distinct black spots on the dorsum, but that the new species lacks these spots. Furthermore, the mean snout–vent length was smaller for the new species than for the Kyushu population of H. dunni. Phylogenetic analyses with the use of fragments of the 16S rRNA and cytochrome b genes also distinguish the new species from individuals in the Kyushu population. The new species has been found in only seven artificial ponds, with approximately 80 clutches of eggs found each year. This endangered species might have the smallest distribution of all those in the genus Hynobius.

Keywords: Cryptic species, Discriminant analysis, Endangered species, Lentic salamander, Mitochondrial DNA

FIG. 4.—Holotype of Hynobius tosashimizuensis sp. nov. (TKPM-H131, adult male):
(A) dorsal view, (B) ventral view, and (C) lateral view.

Hynobius tosashimizuensis sp. nov.

Etymology.— The specific epithet is derived from ‘‘Tosashimizu City,’’ Kochi Prefecture, where the new species occurs. Suggested common name in Japanese: Tosashimizu-sanshouo. 

Hirotaka Sugawara, Takashi Watabe, Takaomi Yoshikawa and Masahiro Nagano. 2018. Morphological and Molecular Analyses of Hynobius dunni Reveal a New Species from Shikoku, Japan. Herpetologica. 74(2); 159-168.  DOI: 10.1655/Herpetologica-D-17-00002.1

New species of salamander identified in Shikoku: study - The Mainichi